From the atmospheric Abbey towering over winding cobbled streets to the windswept beach and working harbour, Whitby is not your traditional coastal town. No trip to this picturesque ancient seaport would be complete without sampling some award-winning fish and chips, following the footsteps of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and English explorer Captain James Cook or discovering the history of the famous Whitby Jet.
68/69 Church Street, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 4AS
Whitby is one of the most famous and popular seaside towns in Yorkshire.
Whitby is split by the River Esk. On the East Cliff, overlooking the North Sea, the ruined Gothic Whitby Abbey was Bram Stoker’s inspiration for “Dracula”. Nearby is the Church of St. Mary, reached by 199 steps.
The Captain Cook Memorial Museum, in the house where Cook once lived, displays paintings and maps.
West of town is West Cliff Beach, lined with beach huts.
As well as being the birthplace of some of modern history’s best known stories, Whitby has a maritime, mineral and tourist heritage.
Tourism started in Whitby during the Georgian period and developed with the arrival of the railway in 1839. Its attraction as a tourist destination is enhanced by the proximity of the high ground of the North York Moors national park and the heritage coastline and by association with the horror novel Dracula.
For industry, as well as fishing, Jet and alum were mined locally, and Whitby jet, which was mined by the Romans and Victorians, became fashionable during the 19th century.
The abbey ruin at the top of the East Cliff is the town’s oldest and most prominent landmark.
Other significant features include the swing bridge, which crosses the River Esk and the harbour, which is sheltered by the grade II listed East and West piers.
The town’s maritime heritage is commemorated by statues of Captain Cook and William Scoresby, as well as the whalebone arch that sits at the top of the West Cliff.
The town also has a strong literary tradition and has featured in literary works, television and cinema.